Southern Central Valley Educators and Business Leaders Announce New Strategy to Make Linked Learning Available to All Students in Region

Porterville, CA – Employer leaders, K-12 school district superintendents from districts across Tulare and Kings Counties, and partners from Fresno State University today announced a new regional commitment to work together to make Linked Learning options available to students across California’s southern Central Valley.

“Regional economic vitality depends on the growth and attraction of a robust talent pipeline,” said Bobby Ram, managing director, Sunpower Corporation. “Linked Learning is a promising approach for the business community of Tulare/Kings Counties to gain a stronger, richer workforce base and position our high school graduates for success in college and in their careers. This will enrich and strengthen the economy Southern Central Valley.”

Fresno State University has established a new South Valley teacher preparation program with an emphasis in Linked Learning. Teacher graduates from this program will be ready to teach in Linked Learning high schools in Kings and Tulare counties, and will be prepared to coordinate with employer partners to offer students work-based learning opportunities.

“Developing a pipeline of educators who are effective in teaching in Linked Learning classrooms is an important strategy to strengthen our regions’ economy,” said Dr. Paul Beare, Dean of the Kremen School of Education at Fresno State University. “Linked Learning prepares students for college and careers in high growth, job-rich industry sectors. Because it is so engaging for students, teachers enjoy using the Linked Learning approach. Fresno State University is committed to preparing teachers who can hit the ground running in Linked Learning pathways in the Southern Central Valley.”

Linked Learning integrates college preparatory academics with rigorous technical training and work-based learning in career-themed pathways, including engineering, performing arts, health care, law and more. Linked Learning students see how their learning in school applies in the real world, and they gain the academic and professional skills needed to succeed in both college and in the workforce.

Linked Learning pathways coordinate with employers to align high school courses with California’s workforce demands, and to provide work-based learning opportunities that relate to students’ course of study. Growth in the number of partnerships between employers, high schools, and community colleges is needed to provide Linked Learning and related work-based learning options for students at scale in the Southern Central Valley.

Christopher Cabaldon, Executive Director of the Linked Learning Alliance said there are new incentives for employers to partner with high schools, community colleges, and colleges to prepare California’s future workforce for job-rich economic sectors through the $250 million Career Pathways Trust included in the state budget.

“There are amazing employer leaders providing valuable work-based learning opportunities for students in the Southern Central Valley, but many more such partnerships are needed to make Linked Learning opportunities real for students across the region,” said Linked Learning Alliance Executive Director Christopher Cabaldon. “The California Career Pathways Trust is designed to support systemic coordination between employers and schools so regions like the South Central Valley can develop the highly skilled, highly educated workforce needed for a vibrant economy.”

The California Department of Education is preparing a competitive application process to distribute the $250 million Career Pathways Trust, which will be released in 2014.

Momentum is growing to expand the Linked Learning approach across California. In January, 63 school districts and county offices of education were selected to participate in a State Linked Learning Pilot Program.

The Tulare/Kings County region a strong base from which to start a regionally-focused Linked Learning strategy. Porterville Unified has implemented wall-to-wall Linked Learning pathways, and has established strong relationships with civic and employer leaders and postsecondary institutions in the region. Porterville Unified is a mentor district for the Tulare-Kings County Linked Learning Pilot consortium, which includes Cutler Orosi, Dinuba, Hanford, Visalia, Lindsay, Tulare, and Hanford Unified school districts.

Other regions that have significant number of districts participating in the Linked Learning pilot program include the East Bay Area, Central Coast, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego.

The Central Valley Linked Learning events are part of a statewide Fall Showcase of Linked Learning with events planned around the state to demonstrate how Linked Learning is succeeding, and stimulate engagement with the business community, which is needed to make Linked Learning available to all students in regions throughout California.

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See schedule below for additional events across the state. 

Event Schedule

Each regional event will include a press conference featuring high-level Linked Learning champions and a site visit to a Linked Learning school. Below is a detailed agenda of event opportunities for press.

Schedule